Why Autumn Is Great
Sunday, 23rd November 2014
Autumn is easily my favourite time of year, I think.
Yes, summer is great. It is nice to have longer days with more light I suppose. And the sunshine is nice. Barbecuing, I like that (although Mr CM does not, making it a rare event in our house).
Spring also has its advantages, I suppose. You know. Lambs. Easter eggs. That sort of thing.
And winter is ok too, especially if it snows (and I don't have to try and go anywhere in it). A sharp, clear winter day can be beautiful, when the ice crystals dance in the air like diamond dust, and sledging is one of my favourite things (although quite tricky to do in Norfolk. Although the stereotype of this place being totally flat is false - I can report the existence of an incline. You know, just the one).
But autumn in the country, to me, is the best time. When the trees get their gladrags on, and everything is veiled in mist in the mornings, and then the sun cuts through in places and sets the autumn foliage alight.
A friend once said to me that he couldn't see what was so great about the country, as it was all just green and brown and boring. What?! Just green and brown? Well, not in autumn it's not (nor any other time either, but never mind that). And autumn is also the best time for hedgerow foraging - coming back from a walk loaded with sloes and blackberries, ready to be steeped in gin for Christmas. (I've heard you can make other things as well, but I choose to dismiss this as a vicious rumour). Around this neck of the woods, many of the houses sell surplus produce at the gate, which is why we also have a vat of damson brandy steeping away too. Never let it be said my repetoire is limited. There is also ginger whisky on the go, as we're nothing if not diverse here. By the way, did you know that sloe gin can cure colds? It's true. Well, it stops you from caring about the cold, anyway.
Hedgerow foragers can get a bit of a bad name, so it's important not to pick the bushes clean and not to go trespassing - leave some of the birds and animals that need them (and the other sloe gin makers too). And my advice is to pick above the level at which the average dog can cock its leg... health and safety in action. This year we have had a glut of everything so leaving plenty behind was easy - the old wives tale says this means a bad winter is coming, although as a young(ish) wife, I'll believe it when I see it.
Autumn is also a time of new beginnings - new terms starting, new places to live, new places to go. Even now, years after the education system relinquished its hold on me, autumn still feels like the time to be buying new stationery and work clothes. I am always a bit surprised not to be moving to a new house and starting new subjects when the leaves start to drop. My birthday is in autumn, which is nice, and this year Mr CM and I injected a bit more autumnal excitement by getting married (although we probably won't be able to do this every year, to be fair). The only thing missing from this autumn is building a fire - our current house has no fireplace, which is a sad omission in my book. Where is the fun in autumn if you can't experiment with various magazines to see which is the most flammable for fire-lighting purposes?